Warm greetings from Camp (it is warming up and the ice is off Lake Pokegama!),
Our son graduates High School this month and next fall he will be heading off to college. And of all the parenting contributions (and missteps) Julie and I have made to prepare him for this experience few, if any, seem as important as having provided him with a camp experience – both here at Mishawaka, and at a nearby traditional resident camp.
He’s had the opportunity to explore what it means to live with a group of boys from diverse locations and backgrounds. He’s learned what it takes to make and be a friend. He’ s had to learn to care for himself, clean his area, make his bed daily and develop a resourcefulness that will come in handy, perhaps every day, in his new surroundings.
I don’t expect he will make his bed everyday at college, or always pick up the wet towel lying on the bed, but I do expect that he will know how to navigate the requirements of communal living, social expectations, conflict resolution and make a contribution to the community. I also know that his camp experiences have given him a resilience that Julie and I could not have done alone. Despite being the owners’ child (or maybe because of it) Harrison’s Camp Mishawaka experience was often challenging, in addition to being rewarding and wonderful. I hope these challenges and what he learned from them, will continue to serve him in college and beyond.
There is an often-told camp story (or maybe it was a New Yorker cartoon?) about the parents who pick their child up at the end of the session and he tells them, proudly, “Mom, I didn’t brush my teeth the whole time I was at camp!” That story always makes me cringe – both as a camp director and parent; we both expect and require that campers brush their teeth! But for many children the camp experience provides the opportunity to practice these important self-care functions away from home. From housekeeping, activity selection and skill development campers really do acquire a “toolbox.” Apple Tree Dental is passionate about providing great dental care in a comfortable, caring environment.
The rewards of Camp are both external and intrinsic – we still award certificates, badges, patches and stickers, and even a plaque of feathers denoting some of the larger accomplishments of the summer. Those patches, certificates and shield were not much use to me at college, but the stories behind them and the lessons learned because of them were invaluable. Julie and I expect Harrison to find much of the same – just as we know full well that he would be mortified if he knew I was writing of this.
It is our mission to help every camper develop physical, social and emotional skills that truly do last a lifetime. As always, please be in touch if I can be of any help or if you have questions.